Spring Stream

19 Feb

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net




Good morning, everyone! Hopefully everyone had a chance to listen to and/or downloaded the Tuesday night SethSpeaks.net Minnesota Twins podcast which featured Phil Miller, Nick Nelson and John Bonnes. If you haven’t, be sure to do so if you would like.



Before getting too far, I would like to mention that there will be a SethSpeaks.net Twins Live Chat tonight. Be sure to check back later this morning for the time and details of the chat.


For today, I just have several Twins-related thoughts that I would like to share as well as some links to other articles for you to read. It is kind of a stream of consciousness blog, so excuse the informality! And have a great day!


·         First things first, I want to thank Aaron Gleeman for the kind words he said about me and this blog in his posting today on the Twins-related blogs that he reads. As you know, I started this site in May of 2003, in part, because of Aaron and The Twins Geek, John Bonnes. At the time, they were probably the only Twins bloggers, and they’re both still going very strong.

·         You will also want to check out Aaron’s Live Chat from yesterday afternoon. Maybe it’ll give you some ideas of possible questions to ask me tonight.

·         LaVelle was the first to report that, as I expected, Bobby Korecky was the player that the Twins took off of their 40 man roster to make room for Luis Ayala. Korecky was claimed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs must just watch for the Twins to make players available. Remember that they were the team that similarly claimed pitcher JD Durbin when the Twins took him off of their 40 man roster. They were the team that claimed Alex Romero when the Twins chose to make him available. Also, when OF Trent Oeltjen became a six year minor league free agent a little over a year ago, the Snakes signed him as well. It would appear that Arizona, despite a rotation that boasts Brandon Webb and Dan Haren may have plenty of openings in 2009. It might be a good opportunity for Korecky to spend a little big of time in the big leagues. Although the former Michigan Wolverine was not blessed with the prototypical size of a big league pitcher, he had a toughness and confidence that helped him succeed. He was very hittable, but he also ‘got the job done’ a lot! Although he got only limited time with the Minnesota Twins, Korecky has been a very valuable part of the Twins organization since he was acquired with Carlos Silva and Nick Punto after the 2003 season in the Eric Milton trade. He has been a minor league closer throughout that time, with the exception of the 2005 season when he had Tommy John surgery. It was the easy choice to take Korecky off of the 40 man roster to make room for Ayala. But I’m certain that it wasn’t an easy thing for many on the Twins roster as, at 29, he likely played with a majority of the players. That’s the human element of the long baseball season that we too often forget.

·         With Joe Mauer’s kidney surgery and recovery taking him out of early activities this spring, the team needed another catcher to catch bullpen sessions. Toby Gardenhire was down there preparing for minor league camp, so he was asked to officially join big league camp as a catcher. For the most part in his minor league career, he has been a middle infielder, but over the last couple of seasons, in an attempt to make himself more versatile and more valuable, he has occasionally donned the catching gear and caught bullpens. With so many pitchers in camp, all needing to throw, having plenty of catchers around only makes sense. What is strange to me is that there are actually Twins fans who are offended by this, by the manager’s son being brought in to camp. I don’t see the big deal… he is the team’s #8 catcher at big league camp. I don’t think we have to worry about him claiming a big league roster spot out of camp. He is catching bullpens. Who cares? If they would have had Tommy Watkins come in to do the same thing, would it matter?

·         I heard today that FSN’s Telly Hughes will not be working Twins games in 2009. Instead, he will be doing the same thing for FSN but for Milwaukee Brewers games. Good luck… Brewers fans!

·         Am I the only one that simply wants the Joe Crede situation to go away? I think I have been pretty consistent throughout the offseason on my stance on the 3B situation. I’m fine with improving the position if we believe it will be a significant improvement. Yes, I am comfortable with a Brendan Harris/Brian Buscher platoon, although I would much prefer Brendan Harris just run with the job! Adrian Beltre? Significant improvement, but I wouldn’t trade what the Mariners are asking for him. Garrett Atkins? No thanks. Casey Blake? Not a big leap forward. Mark Derosa? He won’t even play 3B for Cleveland, and I prefer Brendan Harris anyway. Ty Wigginton? No thank you. Joe Crede? I do like his power. He was an All Star in 2008 after hitting a bunch of first half home runs. If I believed that he could play even 120 games in 2009, I would be OK with the Twins signing him. I do think he would be a very slight improvement offensively and a significant improvement defensively. But we are also talking about a guy who has missed over half of his team’s games the past two seasons, a guy who has had two major back surgeries in the last year and a half (one of which didn’t work for very long, and the other which he is just getting back from). If he would be willing to sign a one year deal worth $2.5 million, I would be fine with signing him. I would even be happy to offer an additional $2.5 million for getting 450 plate appearances in 2009. I’d be willing to add another million dollars if he reaches 550 plate appearances. And another million dollars for 650 plate appearances. But I really don’t think that I would do any more than that. And again, I just want it over, and I imagine the Twins players, coaches and beat writers are thinking the same thing!

·         I had read that the Twins will have as many as ten players eligible for arbitration following the 2009 season, but I hadn’t spent much time really thinking about what the would mean. Which players would be eligible? And secondly, I get so tired of people whining about the Twins payroll when in reality, it is completely a function of having so many pre-arbitration-eligible players on their roster. So here is a quick list at which players will probably be arbitration-eligible at this time next year. In parentheses, you will see an estimate of what that player would potentially make in arbitration for 2009 if they perform similarly as they did in 2008. Please remember that most of these players are going to make less than $500,000 in 2008.

1.      Scott Baker ($2.8 million)

2.      Francisco Liriano ($2.4 million)

3.      Pat Neshek ($1.0 million)

4.      Brendan Harris ($1.5 million)

5.      Boof Bonser ($1.5 million)

6.      Jesse Crain ($2.5 million)

7.      Delmon Young ($2.2 million)

8.      Matt Guerrier ($2.0 million)

And these players will likely be Super-2 arbitration-eligible in 2009:

·         Carlos Gomez ($1.8 million)

·         Glen Perkins ($1.6 million)

Of course, we also have to remember that some of these players may have breakout years, and if so, those numbers could go up. If these numbers would be at all accurate, there is an extra $15 million in salary without making any roster changes. Add to that the increases due to the likes of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, and you can see how quickly a payroll can increase over the next couple of seasons when they enter Target Field.

·         If you check out the Twins Geek articles the last couple of days, he has asked a few questions related to Delmon Young and his ‘split’ contract. As he points out, I was able to verify that Young is indeed out of options, so he can not be sent to the minor leagues without being put on waivers. And as much as anyone may not appreciate Delmon Young, I can’t imagine there would be more than a couple of teams in baseball that would not claim him. So, although a split contract is typical for players with less than three years of big league service time, it is probably not terribly necessary to even make mention of the split contract. Again, not a big deal at all, but certainly an interesting learning discussion.

·         KFAN’s Phil Mackey has done a terrific job at his site PMac. He has made his AL Player projections available for download on his site. He wrote a very interesting article on what happened to Glen Perkins late last year. And now he wrote a blog called The Curious Case of Michael Cuddyer which is very interesting.


That’s all I’ve got for now. Again, be sure to take in tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Live Minnesota Twins Chat and ask any questions you may have. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments Here.


14 Responses to “Spring Stream”

  1. Dwade February 19, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    I may be letting my own dislike of Jesse Crain get in the way of good judgement, but I find it hard to believe he’ll make more than Guerrier.

    Arb hearings allow them to bring in multiple years of data, if I’m not mistaken, and Crain missed the vast majority of 2007, which the Twins will exploit if they actually go to a hearing.

    This isn’t going to catch the Twins off guard, so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see some of these guys packaged together at the deadline to acquire a veteran if there is a clear position of need to fill.

  2. roger February 19, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    Great post Seth, thanks! Guerrier is making $1,475,000 this year, whereas, the Twins signed Crain to a contract at $1,700,000. Considering that Crain will be in his second year back from injury, he should do better in 2009 which would mean that $2,500,000 in 2010 could be a bargain.

    Seth, are there people actually complaining about little Gardy getting added to the spring training roster as an extra catcher? WOW! I find that hard to believe. I know that Toby had a tough time with the bat his first couple years as he struggled to break .200Ave. I was as surprised as anyone this past summer when he hit very well for New Britain. Lets give the kid a break, everything I hear is that he is a class young man who is getting better as he moves up the ladder. My advice to those who have a problem with this is….Get over it!

  3. rochfan February 19, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    We know little Gardy very well in Roch MN, as he played 2 years with the Honkers. He’s a very solid glove, and has always been mediocre at the plate. I think everyone should be glad that someone like him is willing to do some bullpen catching. He’s saving some of the other players. Would those “complainers” rather Morneau (who used to catch) take time there? I think the complainers just need to have something besides BS and the cheap FO to complain about.

  4. JimCrikket February 19, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    Technically, I believe Kelly Thesier was the first to report on Korecky to the DBacks in her blog at mlb.com. She appeared to have nipped LEN by 20-30 minutes or so. Just sayin’.

    From what I can tell, LEN was the first to note that Ayala’s contract is not guaranteed, however. That could be significant if he doesn’t come to Spring Training and impress people more than the young arms from within the organization.

  5. Beth February 19, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Thanks for the list of arbitration eligible players next year. I knew that there were ten, but hadn’t done the research to figure out who the guys were (I kept forgetting when I had time to look; I also would’ve needed to refresh myself on what arbitration eligible rules were).

  6. thrylos98 February 19, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    This is probably a make or break season for Harris, Buscher, Bonser, Perkins and Guerrier. If they do not pick it up, I doubt that the Twins will offer them arbitration, esp. with the pipeline they have in some of those positions.

    Count me as one who did not like that Gardy Jr., was invited over more deserving catchers like Alex Soto. From 30,000 feet away is not a big deal but for those kids who make $10K a year playing ball the extra $80 per day times 40, is like getting a 30% raise.

  7. USAFChief February 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm #

    Seth, you might get tired of people whining about payroll, but some of us get tired of people making excuses for the payroll, as well.

    By the way, if we accept the numbers you guessed at for 2010 salaries for the 10 arb-eligibles above, that will represent an increase of approximately $12M in total, not $15M. Young is making $1.1M in 2009, Crain $1.7M, and Guerrier $1.475M.

    Also, we know exactly what Kubel, Morneau, Mauer, Cuddyer, and Nathan will cost in 2010. Their combined salaries increase by $8.5M over 2009. Nathan, by the way, will be paid the same ($11.25M) over the life of his contract (2008-11) so there is no increase for him.

    That’s a total of $20.5M in extra salary in 2010, which if no changes are made over the 2009 roster means the Twins would be in the $80M range…hardly where they should be given they had a payroll over $70M in 2007 and a large increase in revenue due in 2010.

    Which doesn’t even address the basic question…how does a potential increase in salary in 2010 excuse a $60M payroll in 2009 anyway, for a team with holes that considers itself a contender?

  8. Seth February 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    I guess to answer your question, I just don’t understand why the dollar value of the payroll is so important. That’s like saying, We have X amount to spend, might as well spend it, even if it doesn’t make sense.

    I think I explained my opinion on Crede pretty thoroughly. 1.) I’m not convinced he will play enough to make much of an impact, 2.) I’m not convinced he is as big an upgrade over Harris and Buscher (particularly given #1) as many others seem to, but 3.) if the dollars and incentives make sense, fine.

    The bullpen – I’ve been pretty consistent in my point that they have enough internal options that it needs to make a lot of sense to make a move. Do we really think that Eric Gagne would be better than Jesse Crain, or others in the bullpen? Is Ayala the answer? Is he better than their in-house options? Who is out there that would have been a clear improvement?

    SS – They gave Punto a fair deal after investigating the likes of Furcal (probably?) and Hardy and probably Escobar. But the dollars/years (on Furcal), and the players necessary in return (the others) just didn’t make sense.

    Again, my main point is that payroll doesn’t matter. It’s just a number. I don’t care if it’s $60 million or $80 million if it’s not going to mean a difference on the field.

  9. Seth February 19, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Alex Soto played at E-Town last year. Toby Gardenhire played in New Britain. When neither one has a chance at making the big league club, and both are the #8 or #9 catcher in camp, not a big deal. And secondly, the Twins won’t likely use him behind the plate in a game, for more than an inning or two anyway. They will want to find out what they have in Morales and Butera and Ramos first and foremost.

  10. SoCalTwinsfan February 19, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    What does it matter if Crede stays healthy or not? The money is just sitting there, so its not like it would do the Twins any good if they don’t sign Crede. If they sign him and he gets hurt, then they’ll be back to Harris and Buscher at third, or even better, Valencia could be ready by then and could be given a shot. Either way, as long as Crede doesn’t try to play while hurt and then hurt the Twins with his play, I don’t see how his health is relevant as long as the Twins don’t guarantee him more than one season.

  11. tomb February 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Do you have a couple grand sitting around in your bank account. I’ll take it from you, like Crede I have a bad back too. I mean its just sitting there.

    Any company, including a MLB team, needs to determine thru cost-benefit analysis how they will spend thier money. Because a company has a couple million dollars “sitting around” doesnt mean they must spend it without adequately determining what type of return they could expect on that investment. They dont think Crede is worth the money he is asking for. Simple as that.
    I can assure you, you certainly would not be in charge of my books if I ran a business.

  12. DADDYCAT February 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    I listened to the podcast and wish I could share your (and you guests’) optimism for the coming season, but I just can’t. I know it’s spring and everything looks fresh, but no go. And I even agree about the 3rd base situation being not a huge concern. But there are at least 3 reasons I have for being a total disbeliever (and I’ve been a staunch Twins supporter since they moved here), and they are SHORTSTOP, SMITH, and GARDENHIRE. I’ll try to be brief on each.

    Nick Punto is a utility guy, period!!! First, he isn’t good enough to be an everyday starting shortstop, and second, he’ll hurt himself (probably during one of his idiotic slides into first base) and be out of the lineup a bunch of games (who’s our backup?). The Brewers lose half their starting pitching staff, and we couldn’t make a deal for Hardy? I hope they let Plouffe play a lot this spring and that he’ll do well.

    Smith seems afraid to make any moves. Finally settled for the standard Twins signing of a cheap free agent with baggage. All Ayala does, if he even makes the team, is to take up a spot that would be better used by promoting a young arm and breaking him in to the bigs gradually (Remember how Santana was used at first, even if only because we had to keep him on the roster or lose him). Smith’s big move down the stretch last year was Guardado!! Wish we could have won the game Eddie blew.

    Gardy seems to be loved by all. I guess he fits the mold for many of the managers and coaches we’ve had locally over the years. He is well liked by most players and he tries to keep everybody happy, spreading the playing time around. But what about his other managerial skills? In my opinion, he usually gets out-managed, in selecting the lineup, and in game strategy. How many managers would have used Monroe the way Gardy did last year? It took an age for him to realize Gomez couldn’t handle the lead-off spot. How about Redmond batting third all the time? And of course his opinion of Nick Punto is beyond belief! I wonder where this team would be with Molitor at the helm?

    So I guess I can’t be as optimistic as some are, but it is spring and I am looking forward to the season, hoping that I’m wrong about a lot of this!

  13. brad February 21, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    The signing of Crede has to be one of the top free agent signings for the Twins in at least a decade, possibly 2 decades. It gives Gardy one more everyday player to plug in the lineup and it gives Mourneau/Mauer some serious protection in the lineup. Sucks for a guy like Buscher, but that’s life.
    Also sounds like the signing of Cruz is very possible, hopefully the injury to Boof made Smith open up the wallet.
    Now we are just left with a hole at SS, I’m hoping Nicki doesn’t dance with the mendoza line this year.


  1. Belief in Crede? Let’s See! « SethSpeaks.net - February 21, 2009

    […] There are a couple of other Twins topics that I will be covering as well, but want to do so in separate postings to allow for discussion. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave Comments Here. […]

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